Economy - published on 16 September 2021
Source: European Commission Spokesperson’s Service
The Commission proposed a Path to the Digital Decade, a concrete plan to achieve the digital transformation of our society and economy by 2030. The proposed Path to the Digital Decade will
translate the EUʼs digital ambitions for 2030 into a concrete delivery mechanism. It will set up a
governance framework based on an annual cooperation mechanism with Member States to reach the 2030 Digital Decade targets at Union level in the areas of digital
skills, digital infrastructures, digitalisation of businesses and public services. It also aims to identify and implement large-scale digital projects involving the Commission and the Member
The pandemic highlighted the central role that digital technology plays in building a sustainable and prosperous future. In particular, the crisis exposed a divide between digitally apt
businesses and those yet to adopt digital solutions, and highlighted the gap between well-connected urban, rural and remote areas. Digitalisation offers many new opportunities on the European
marketplace, where more than 500,000 vacancies for cybersecurity and data experts remained unfilled in 2020. In line with European values, the Path to the Digital Decade should reinforce our
digital leadership and promote human centred and sustainable digital policies empowering citizens and businesses.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for ‘A Europe Fit for the Digital Age’, said: The European vision for a digital future is one where technology empowers
people. So today we propose a concrete plan to achieve the digital transformation. For a future where innovation works for businesses and for our societies. We aim to set up a governance framework
based on an annual cooperation mechanism to reach targets in the areas of digital skills, digital infrastructures, digitalisation of businesses and public services.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: Europe is determined to lead in the global technological race. Setting ourselves 2030 targets was an
important step, but now we need to deliver. We must ensure that Europe is not in a position of great dependence in the years to come. Otherwise, we will remain too exposed to the ups and downs of
the world, and miss out on economic growth and job creation. I believe in a Europe that leads on the markets of the future, not one that is a mere subcontractor.
Path to the Digital Decade
Digital progress in the Member States has been very uneven in the last years. The trend shows that the countries progressing at a slow pace five years ago, have continued to progress slowly until
now. With this new Path to the Digital Decade, there will be structured cooperation to work collectively towards the agreed objectives, while recognising different starting points among Member
Specifically, the Commission proposes to engage in an annual cooperation mechanism with Member States that will consist of:
A structured, transparent and shared monitoring system based on the Digital
Economy and Society Index (DESI) to measure progress towards each of the 2030 targets; including key performance indicators (KPIs);
An annual report on the ‘State of the Digital Decade’, in which the Commission will evaluate progress and provide recommendations for actions;
Multiannual digital decade strategic roadmaps for each Member State, in which they will outline adopted or planned policies and measures in support of the 2030
A structured annual framework to discuss and address areas of insufficient progress through recommendations and joint commitments between the Commission and the
A mechanism to support the implementation of multi-country projects.
Present measured digital performance against the projected trajectories;
Make targeted recommendations to Member States for reaching the 2030 targets, taking national circumstances into account.
The Commission shall review the targets by 2026 to take stock of technological, economic and societal developments.
The Commission has identified an initial list of multi-country projects, which includes several areas for investment: data infrastructure, low-power processors, 5G communication, high-performance
computing, secure quantum communication, public administration, blockchain, digital innovation hubs, and investing in people’s digital skills.
Different targets will accelerate the process of digitalisation and will lead to greater resilience and technological sovereignty by bringing more specialists in the market to work in digital
fields, or incentivising various industries to develop digital technologies in Europe.
The annual Report on the ‘State of the Digital Decade’ will provide the necessary information to account for developments and identified gaps in Europe’s digital transformation, and update the
list of multi-country projects.
Multi-country projects should pool investments from EU funding resources, including from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, as well as from the Member States. Other public and
private entities may invest in the projects where appropriate.
The Commission, acting as the multi-country projects accelerator, will help Member States in the identification of their interests in multi-country projects, give guidance on implementation
mechanisms and provide assistance in the implementation, in order to ensure wide participation and successful delivery.
The programme provides for a new legal structure, the European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC), enabling the swift and flexible set-up and implementation of multi-country projects.
The proposed Path to the Digital Decade is supported by the results of several consultations in which citizens, businesses, public administrations, Member States, industry and organisations shared
their views on what is needed for a successful European digital transformation. Moreover, its implementation, including the design of follow-up initiatives, would be supported by discussions in the
online forum dedicated to the Digital Compass.
In parallel, the Commission is working on finalising the proposal for a joint ‘Declaration on Digital Principles’ by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission to ensure European
values and rights are reflected in the digital space. This will ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of digital opportunities, such as universal access to the internet, algorithms that
respect people and a secure and trusted online environment. The annual report on the ‘State of the Digital Decade’ will evaluate the implementation of Digital Principles.
For More Information
State of the Union Address by President von der Leyen
Questions & Answers – State of the Union: Path to the Digital Decade
Factsheet – Path to the Digital Decade
Presentation – Path to the Digital Decade
Proposal for a Decision establishing a Path to the Digital Decade
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